Wyoming signs five football transfers

Quarterback Andrew Peasley transfered from Utah State to be a part of Cowboy football next fall. (University of Wyoming Athletics photo)

By Tim Harkins, University of Wyoming athletics

The Wyoming Football program has added five talented individuals to their 2022 football roster.  Four transfers from FBS programs and one junior-college transfer have all officially signed scholarship agreements to become Cowboys.  Of the four FBS transfers, two will come to Wyoming from Big Ten Schools (Michigan State and Wisconsin), one from the SEC (Ole Miss) and one from Utah State of the Mountain West Conference.  The group of transfers includes two quarterbacks, two cornerbacks and one linebacker.

Joining the Cowboy offense will be junior quarterback Andrew Peasley, who transfers to Wyoming from Utah State, and sophomore quarterback Evan Svoboda, from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. Peasley brings with him previous starting experience in the Mountain West Conference.  He earned Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week honors as a sophomore in 2020.  Svoboda is the one JC transfer that the Cowboys have signed thus far this year. He spent his freshman season of 2021 at Snow College, but had also been recruited by the Wyoming coaching staff when he was in high school at Red Mountain High in Mesa, Ariz.

At cornerback, senior Deron Harrell is transferring to Wyoming from the University of Wisconsin of the Big Ten and junior Jakorey Hawkins is coming to Wyoming from Ole Miss of the SEC. Both Harrell and Hawkins bring previous FBS starting experience to the Cowboys. Harrell has one year of eligibility remaining, and Hawkins has two years left to play at the collegiate level.

Also joining the Cowboy defense will be sophomore linebacker Cole DeMarzo, who is coming to Wyoming from Michigan State of the Big Ten. DeMarzo redshirted his freshman season of 2020 at MSU and was on the Spartans’ 2021 squad that posted an 11-2 record.

“We are certainly excited about the addition of these young men to our program,” said Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl. “They all have a deep desire to add great value to Cowboy Football, and we believe they will help move our program forward in a positive direction heading into next season.”

Wyoming Transfer Bios

Andrew Peasley, Quarterback, (6-2, 200) Junior, La Grande, Ore. (Utah State)

Andrew Peasley is an experienced quarterback who previously played at Utah State.  A veteran addition to the Cowboy roster, Peasley has already completed his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology at USU and has two years of eligibility remaining.

Peasley’s top performance of the 2021 season was at Air Force. With Utah State trailing the Falcons 24-20 in the third quarter, Peasley rallied the Aggies to a 49-45 road win.  He threw three second-half touchdown passes of 5 yards, 37 yards and 72 yards to three different receivers to fuel the comeback. Peasley completed 10 of 15 passes (.667) on the day for 195 yards.  He added 29 rushing yards on five carries to tally 224 yards of total offense.  He also scored a two-point conversion, scrambling into the end zone for the successful PAT.

In the 2021 season-opening win at Washington State, Peasley completed 6 of 12 passes (.500) for 76 yards and ran four times for 43 yards to account for 119 yards of total offense in a 26-23 road victory.

In 2020, Peasley earned Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week honors with an outstanding performance against New Mexico in a 41-27 home victory. Peasley completed 14 of 21 pass attempts (.667) for 239 yards and threw three TD passes versus the Lobos.  He also ran for 118 yards on 11 carries against UNM, including a 62-yard touchdown run, and accounted for 357 yards of total offense.  That performance also earned him recognition as a Manning Award Star of the Week.

During his college career, Peasley has completed 70 of 127 passes (.551) for 830 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. He has also rushed for 515 yards on 57 carries, averaging 9.0 yards per carry and scoring three rushing touchdowns.

At La Grande High School in La Grande, Ore., Peasley was a three-year starter at quarterback and twice earned Honorable Mention All-State honors. He threw for 4,318 yards and 45 touchdowns and rushed for 931 yards and 23 TDs.  As a senior, he led La Grande High to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.  Peasely also played basketball and baseball in high school.  He was twice named his conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in football, was named the conference Player of the Year in basketball once and helped La Grande High to the state championship in baseball as a junior.  He is the son of Joelene and Arnie Peasley.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Utah State in the fall of 2021 and is a former Academic All-Mountain West honoree.

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Head Coach Craig Bohl on Andrew Peasley: 

“We’re excited about Andrew,” said Bohl. “Obviously, he’s competed in the Mountain West.  He had an outstanding performance against Air Force this past season. We love his maturity, his arm strength and his running ability.”

Deron Harrell, Cornerback, (6-2, 182) Senior, Denver, Colo. (Wisconsin)

Deron Harrell joins the Wyoming Football program from the University of Wisconsin where he played in 22 career games and started nine. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

Harrell’s transfer to Wyoming brings him back home to the Front Range.  A native of Denver, Colo., he played his high school football at East High School in Denver.

Harrell didn’t play in any games during the 2021 season due to an injury, but he was a three-year letterman at Wisconsin. Harrell was credited with 26 total tackles and eight pass breakups during his time as a Badger.  He completed his bachelor’s degree in life sciences communication in May of 2020 and is pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy analysis.

Among his best games in 2020 were: three tackles against Minnesota, two tackles vs. Indiana and two tackles and two pass breakups vs. Wake Forest in Wisconsin’s 42-28 win in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.  In the 2019 season, Harrell was credited with a career high four tackles and broke up one pass vs. Northwestern. He had three tackles and a pass breakup vs. Michigan and recorded a career high two pass breakups in a non-conference game against Kent State.  As a redshirt freshman in 2018, Harrell made three tackles in his first career start vs. Iowa.  He had three tackles vs. Michigan, and had two tackles in games vs. Nebraska and Penn State.

Coming out of high school, Harrell was rated as a three-star recruit by ESPN.  In high school, Harrell was a quarterback and defensive back at Denver East.  He was named the Denver Prep League Offensive MVP and earned First Team All-Conference honors as both a quarterback and defensive back.  He passed for 1,347 yards and 17 touchdowns, while rushing for 330 yards and intercepting four passes as a defensive back. Harrell was a two-year captain and three-year team MVP.  He also started four years in basketball and helped lead Denver East to a 5A State Championship in basketball his senior season.

Harrell’s parents are Lani and Damian Harrell. His father played his college football at Florida State as a wide receiver and is a member of Arena Football League Hall of Fame, setting career records for receptions (1,164), receiving yards (15,134), and touchdown receptions (357). The senior Harrell was a two-time Arena League Offensive MVP (2005, 2006) and was named one of the 10 best players in league history in 2012.

Head Coach Craig Bohl on Deron Harrell: 

“Deron had some meaningful game reps in the Big Ten,” said Bohl. “We know his defensive coordinator at Wisconsin, and Deron played on a great defense at the University of Wisconsin. It is unique that Deron played his high school football in Denver at Denver East, and we’re excited to have him join our program.”

Jakorey Hawkins, Cornerback, (5-11, 195) Junior, Montgomery, Ala. (Ole Miss)

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Jakorey Hawkins is transferring to Wyoming from Ole Miss. Hawkins played in 26 career games and started six during his time with the Rebels. Hawkins comes to Wyoming with two years of eligibility remaining.

Hawkins entered the 2021 season as a three-year letterman for the Rebels.  He was credited with 32 career tackles during his time at Ole Miss, including 20 solo tackles, 12 assists, 0.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and three pass breakups.  Hawkins earned SEC Academic Honor Roll honors in 2020 and was named to the Ole Miss Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in 2018 and ’20. He was an integrated marketing communication major at the University of Mississippi.

Originally from Montgomery, Ala., Hawkins best season at Ole Miss was the 2020 season when he started six of the eight games he played.  During the 2020 season, Hawkins made 28 total tackles, including 19 solo tackles, nine assists, 0.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and three pass breakups.

His best career performance came against then No. 2 ranked Alabama. He made a career high eight tackles and a added a pass breakup vs. the Crimson Tide.  Hawkins also forced an Alabama fumble and recovered it at the goal line.  He had four total tackles vs. Florida and added a pass breakup. He also recorded four tackles in a start at Kentucky.  Those four tackles versus the Wildcats included a touchdown saving tackle.  Hawkins registered five tackles, forced one fumble and broke up one pass vs. South Carolina.  He was credited with three tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss against Mississippi State. In Ole Miss’ 26-20 win over Indiana in the Outback Bowl at the conclusion of the 2020 season, Hawkins recorded three tackles.

After playing in only four games in his freshman season of 2018, Hawkins was able to redshirt that season. He appeared in 12 games as a redshirt freshman in 2019, primarily playing on special teams, before becoming a starter in 2020.

In high school, Hawkins was rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals, ESPN and 247 Sports.  He was ranked as the No. 2 cornerback recruit in the state of Alabama and the No. 18 overall recruit by 247 Sports. Hawkins played in the 2017 Alabama vs. Mississippi High School All-Star Game.  He played for head football coach Tyrone Rogers at Lee High School. His parents are Chanda and Keldrec Hawkins.

Head Coach Craig Bohl on Jakorey Hawkins: 

“Jakorey Hawkins is another young man who we knew his position coaches at Ole Miss,” said Bohl. “We watched a lot of tape on him from SEC games. We love his experience and his ability is going to add great value to our secondary.”

Cole DeMarzo, Linebacker, (6-4, 225) Sophomore, Hilton Head Island, S.C. (Michigan State)

Cole DeMarzo comes to Wyoming from Michigan State University with three years of eligibility remaining. Still a young player, he spent his first year of 2020 as a redshirt and appeared in one game in the 2021 season for the Spartans against Rutgers.

Coming out of high school at Hilton Head High in Hilton Head Island, S.C., DeMarzo was ranked by ESPN.com as the No. 1 ranked linebacker recruit in the state of South Carolina and the No. 17 overall recruit in the state.  247 Sports ranked him as the No. 4 linebacker recruit in South Carolina and the No. 25 overall recruit in the state.  He was named to the Class 4A All-State First Team by the South Carolina Football Coaches Association as a senior, and was selected to play in the 2019 South Carolina Shrine Bowl.

DeMarzo earned Academic All-Big Ten honors at the conclusion of the 2021 Fall semester.  He was part of a Michigan State team that posted an 11-2 overall record and a 7-2 Big Ten mark to finish third in the East Division.  The Spartans concluded the season defeating Pittsburgh by a score of 31-21 in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

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As a freshman in 2020, DeMarzo was named Scout Team Co-Defensive Player of the Week vs. Michigan and was named Scout Team Co-Special Teams Player of the Week vs. Northwestern.

As a high school senior, DeMarzo was credited with 102 total tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 10 pass breakups. He played for head football coach BJ Payne at Hilton Head High. DeMarzo also played baseball in high school.  His parents are Christine and Tony DeMarzo.  He plans on studying business.

Head Coach Craig Bohl on Cole DeMarzo: 

“Cole DeMarzo played linebacker for Scottie Hazelton at Michigan State,” said Bohl. “Cole is very familiar with our system, and we got a great recommendation from Scottie on Cole.”

Evan Svoboda, Quarterback, (6-5, 229) Sophomore, Mesa, Ariz. (Snow College)

Evan Svoboda joins Wyoming Football after playing his freshman season at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. Svoboda had originally been recruited by Wyoming out of Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Ariz. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.

The native of Mesa, Ariz., also had a number of FCS scholarship offers coming out of high school, including offers from Abilene Christian and Illinois State, but decided to play at the junior college level as a college freshman. He played in a back-up role as a freshman and was part of a Snow College team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation during the 2021 season and ended the season ranked No. 5 in the nation in the final NJCAA national rankings.

Svoboda had an outstanding senior season in high school in 2020, completing 87 of 156 pass attempts for 1,286 yards in a seven-game, COVID-shortened season. He threw 13 touchdown passes as a high school senior.

An outstanding all-around athlete, Svoboda also played basketball and was an All-Region performer in track and field at Red Mountain High. He qualified for the State Championships in both the javelin and triple jump, while setting a school record in the javelin of 170′ 4″.  Svoboda was named his school’s Scholar-Athlete of the year as a senior, achieving a 3.86 gpa. His parents are Nicole and Scott.

Head Coach Craig Bohl on Evan Svoboda: 

“Evan is a young man who we’ve known about since his high school playing days,” said Bohl. “He’s certainly a developmental quarterback. He’s got great size and arm strength.  Evan had some meaningful reps at Snow College and we’re excited about his development.”

 

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Name                    Pos.       Ht.          Wt.     Class       (Last School)     Years remain

Cole DeMarzo         LB        6-4      225         So.      Hilton Head, S.C. (Michigan State)    3

Deron Harrell         CB         6-2     182          Sr.     Denver, Colo. (Wisconsin)                  1

Jakorey Hawkins     CB        5-11    195         Jr.      Montgomery, Ala. (Ole Miss)             2

Andrew Peasley       QB        6-2      200        Jr.     La Grande, Ore. (Utah State)              2

Evan Svoboda         QB        6-5      229        So.    Mesa, Ariz. (Snow College)                3